As if my husband were my personal translator, I relied on him to interpret the bible for me. I was little awestruck by his background – a pastor’s son, a pastor and such a powerful teacher. You see, my true personal relationship with Christ hadn’t really started until we had our son. Yes, I was saved long before then. Yes, I knew the sacrifice of my Savior but I didn’t really feel connected to Him. I loved God from a distance, more like a groupie waiting for that chance encounter, than like a loved daughter. My father-in-law led me to a closer relationship with Christ. When we met, though I was his son’s girlfriend, he was concerned less about our relationship than he was about my walk with Jesus. Thank God for him! In crowded clamoring family gatherings, he would make it a point to listen to me and lead all my worries, fears, and insecurities to God. Because of his concern for my soul and sincere heart to share Jesus, I lost my religion and gained a relationship with Christ. So as a new creature in Christ, I kind of idolized my husband’s long-term relationship with God and seemingly deeper perspective of the Word.
So a man of God, steadfast in the Word, gets onto Jonah’s ship. Not alone but with a wife insecure in the Word and two children.
4 Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up.
The storm came with a vengeance. In its wrath, even with a golf umbrella, we all got soaked. Our business failed in warped speed. Our credit dissipated like a drop of water on a sizzling summer day. Our savings sunk in quick sand as we tried to save our house. Life seemed out of control and I started to get out of control. My patience was thin, I couldn’t remember what I just started, tears came unexpectedly and lasted for what seemed like a whole day. My poor babies played with each other quietly out of the way; I could tell they were trying not to upset me with questions. Fear started to consume me! We had to move, our house was up for foreclosure. We scraped up loose change for gas and food. I was hoping, against hope, that my husband would snap out of his spiritual coma and give us a word of encouragement. That he would lead us and not just sit there. I didn’t know what I wanted to hear from him, maybe remind me of how Job lost it all but was rewarded for his faithfulness. All the advice, I had been given about letting your husband lead, seemed RIDICULOUS at a time like this. It was time for me to stop looking to him for a word and simply reach out and get it on my own. I made his office my refuge. I buried myself deep in the bibles, books and commentaries that filled the shelves. I listened a lot more closely in our mega church. I was surprised but refreshed to find out that I got it! I understood it! I didn’t need an interpreter after all! I have the Holy Spirit to reveal the Word to me. This was a hallelujah moment for me. As the sheriff delivered the final notice to move from my dream home, I watched my husband shrink away as he signed the confirmation of receipt. His thoughts of being a failure, his insecurity about his calling in ministry and his inability as a husband/father were almost loud enough for me to hear as he walked by. Nehemiah 8:10 …Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Knowing that the Lord was there, even then, is where I found my JOY. That word gave me the strength to reach out to him and assure him that I believed in him and knew that things would get better.
Rather than ridicule my husband for not being the hero I made him, rather than scold him for not being in ministry, I prayed hard for him. I did not want our marriage to part of the storms wreckage. Assuring a man that you believe in him, is like fertilizer to a wilting garden. So I hoped. I relied on the Lord to give me the strength to be encouraging and not bash him for being stupid. Hard to do, but it can be done! His actions were stupid but I knew that he wasn’t stupid. I could not do this without getting pumped up on the Word. The joy of the Lord is your strength. God lives in me. God will not leave me. God loves me. God is here for me. I was joy filled in knowing God. I rested on God’s promises. So on a ship, nearly capsized, there was unexpected joy. God ‘s omnipresence is awesome! For the kids, I made packing the house a preparation for a great adventure. I reminded them that God has plans for us that we don’t even know about but they are always VERY good plans. When the tearful moments tried to defeat me, I prayed and whispered, “the joy of the Lord is my strength.” I filled the house with praise and worship music and conversation with the kids about Christ.
Though the ship was tilted almost completely on its side and we were soaked with circumstance, I found CLARITY within the storm CLOUDS. All things work together for the good? Romans 8:28 is true! I could see how getting soaked with circumstances was cleansing me of insecurity and filling me with wisdom, bringing me closer to God. What I wanted now more than anything was a way to pull my husband off this ship and get us back to shore.